Nikolai Ostrovsky, bust in Silumin alloy, circa 1970s-80s.
A very large and imposing rendition, measures 13" tall,
approx. 8" across the shoulders. The sculpture is based on
the iconic photograph of the paralyzed and blind writer
famous for his novel How the Steel Was Tempered («Как
Закалялась Сталь»). This Civil War novel is fictional but
the life and exploits of its main character, a young
Bolshevik Pavel ("Pavka") Korchagin, bear similarities with
the author - or at least such was the official version of
the story. Like the protagonist of the novel, Ostrovsky
joined the Communist movement at a very young age, well
before the revolution. It however remains unclear if he ever
fought in the Civil War as did his hero Korchagin, and it
was the arthritis of the spine, an autoimmune disease, that
led to the Ostrovsky's paralyses, blindness and eventual
death - not so much combat wounds or typhus contracted
during the war like the protagonist of the story.
Propaganda through and through but whatever might be the
case, the book was fairly well written. It became very
popular due in large part to perceived heroism of its
author, a kind of Soviet Homer and Odysseus put together.
Ostrovsky was of course made a national hero, declared a
living classic of socialist realism style and was awarded
with an Order of Lenin, the highest Soviet decoration. He
died in 1936 at the age of 32, but How the Steel Was
Tempered remained required reading in school until the
fall of the Soviet Union. Compared with many other books of
the Soviet high school program it was actually fun to read
(with all the adventures, action, combat and what not).
The bust is in good overall condition, will display nicely.
The back of the plinth once had a presentation engraving
which has been crudely ground off, but the damage is limited
to the lower portion where it won't be readily noticeable.
The finish on the upper part, front and sides of the
sculpture is well preserved.
This uncommon and impressive bust can be an excellent
addition to the "pantheon" of other famous Soviet